Helping Tennessee’s Downtowns
Strategy: Collaborate in New Ways
Type of attraction: Main Street/Community
Summary: Tennessee’s landscape is dotted with historic downtowns that were once the centerpiece of their communities. The Tennessee Main Street Program has helped 24 towns reclaim this position through successful revitalization.
Tennessee’s landscape is dotted with historic downtowns that were once the centerpiece of their communities. The Tennessee Main Street Program has helped 24 towns reclaim this position through successful revitalization. Now, a new program offers even more communities the opportunity to learn how to revitalize their downtowns.
The Tennessee Downtowns Program focuses on 10 selected communities to educate local leaders about what is involved in revitalizing their downtowns to once again serve as vital, active places for residents and visitors. The 18-month program includes a site assessment visit by a team of downtown experts, attendance at a two-day downtown revitalization workshop and an innovation grant to implement a downtown revitalization strategy. At the end of the 18 months, community leaders will be equipped to decide if they want to apply for full designation as a “Tennessee Main Street Town” and begin an active revitalization effort.
A special feature of the program is matching mentors – directors from Tennessee’s established Main Street Towns – to provide guidance and “real life” expertise on downtown revitalization to the local steering committee. Mentors commit to visiting their assigned community three times during the 18-month program and being available by phone for consultations between visits. Mentors also benefit from participation with an increase in the amount of innovation grant funds they receive for their own community’s projects.